I made my daughter a little shoulder bag for Christmas. It was filled with all kinds of random hiking stuff. Squishy cups and a spork, tissues, weird things kids like. I got the idea from the awesome movie Arrietty
Lots of times when I make something I finish and sort of wish I had the patience to make ten more so I could have one that actually looks good. This time I was like, “Whoa, this bag is awesome I wish this was mine.” It’s a really fun bag, and it holds more than it looks like it would, and it doesn't look weird when it’s not full. it's extremely forgiving and the measurements don't have to be exact. So I made myself one! It’s awesome, and I made another so you can see how.
What will you need:
Heavy fabric, I used cotton duck. (about a yard or so)
A long zipper, somewhere around 12-14 inches
some kind of buckle or hoops, or "D" rings for the adjustable strap, or could you could make it non-adjusting, that’s fine too.
thread, needles, etc.
First measure your back. Like so:
Then take that measurement and add an inch for the seam allowance.
To Make The Straps:
measure your fabric 4.5" x the length of your back measurement plus about 12." This is to give you room for sewing the buckle on, sewing it to the bags, etc. If it's going to be adjustable you don't really have to worry about the length so long as it's not too short. Iron the edges in about 1/4 of an inch or so.
Fold the long strip of fabric in half and press it flat.
Sew Both sides like this:
Then cut it in two pieces about 1/3 to 2/3. I find that the top strap should be a little shorter than the bottom strap so the buckle falls right on your chest.
To Make The Bag:
Take your back measurement plus one inch, in this case it's 20." This is the length of the bag. The other measurement (the width) determines how big the bag is inside. I suppose you could make it as big as you want, but I make it between 24 and 28 inches. This was for a child here, so I made it 24." Cut out the fabric and iron a 1/2 inch seam on the width (in this case that would be the 24" sides). Sew it flat.
Sew the zipper into the fabric, making a tube, by attaching the zipper on the un-hemmed sides. I sew a zipper on all guerrilla style. I would give you advice, but if you don't know how to sew a zipper, and you're willing to learn you may as well learn the right way. And I don't know that way.
Lay flat with the zipper in the middle.
Lay one end of the strap in the middle of the bag just under where the zipper ends.
Fold the outside edges to meet in the middle (they can overlap a little too).
Sew it at about ½ inch seam allowance. I went a couple of times over.
Fold the sides in again in the same way. And try to make it about the same size as the strap, (you don’t have to do this but I think it looks better).
Sew in the same way.
Do the same thing with the other side. Now just affix your fastener if you have an adjustable strap.
Just fold the edge of the top strap around the rings and sew down flat.
(Damn, why does this even happen? My sewing machine is in the process of tanking. I don't even really know how to use it, so that doesn't help).
Then just hem up the other strap, and it's done!
Now put neat stuff in it and feel like this about yourself: